VIOLENCE / Vol. 67, No. 3 (Fall 2000)
Arien Mack, Editor
Observers of human violence divide into three camps: idea people, behavior people, and relation people. Members of the three camps differ in their understanding of fundamental causes in human affairs. For this special issue on violence, Social Research has recruited authors from all three camps, and some who straddle the boundaries of camps.
The article evaluates the history and recurrence of film violence. The author believes that film violence represents cinematic standards and cultural values regarding the use of force or aggression, and the place and meaning of cinema in a society. Narrative norms in cinema create ideological and formal framework for destruction and death. An aesthetic and social contrast between audiences and filmmakers is represented by film genres. However, the US film industry continues to make movies that produce different forms of violence challenging the values and norms of viewers and mainstream culture.
The article focuses on the propositions made under the "Seville Statement on Violence," a document signed by 19 academicians of different countries, regarding the role of biological factors in violence and war. War could be defined as the destructive intra-species fighting between organized groups. Human beings have inherited the tendency to make war from the animal ancestors. The fear factor plays an important role in expression of aggression. Inhibition of aggressively motivated behavior based on fear occurs on individual as well as group level. Variety of biological systems and genetic factors also strongly influence anger and aggressive behavior.
The article presents information on the proliferation of private violence in the Soviet Union following the reform measures adopted by the government in 1987. When the Soviet Union started showing signs of fragmentation the Soviet society was pervaded by unprecedented violent groups including, criminal fraternities formed in the Soviet prisons, racketeer gangs formed out of sport teams, organizations of Afghan war veterans, Cossack unions, and segments of the state coercive agencies acting as autonomous protective associations.
The article examines why the moral and legal approach to control human violence has been unsuccessful. People believe that violence can be stopped by punishing those who commit it, but on the contrary it has been found that punishment is a powerful stimulus for violence. Giving many examples of prisoners who became more violent after being severely punished, the United States' National Academy of Sciences concluded that no capital punishment can deter violent crimes, instead if criminals are given psychological treatment they become non-violent.
The article examines the history of violence in Chile, Argentina and Colombia. Violence is pre-dominant in the Latin American politics. The author has given three main reasons of ignition of political conflicts. During the period of 1976 to 1983 in Argentina, the military dictatorship did not allow opposition groups to organize opposition. The author also highlights the integration of violence into Latin American countries and their politics. Factors responsible for the emergence of political conflicts among different groups is also mentioned in the article.
The article focuses on the economic and political violence against women during civil war in Uganda. Testimonies of women who were raped and tortured by soldiers during war in Uganda is given in the article. Rape is known to be the most common act of violence against women during wartime, and it is also an act of political violence as women who are raped are abolished from their communities. The diseased women lose their eligibility to get married and lose their access to agricultural livelihood. According to a report presented in the article women are considered as property by the Ugandan soldiers. The author says that these gender disputes can be avoided by providing free education and adult literacy.
The article discusses the impact of the origin of violence and its persistence through human history on the relationship between men and women in the society. The author says that in today's age when rising feminism is opening most of the male-dominated fields to women, violence is a field that women will never be able to get into. The author has explained the role of males in the animal kingdom with examples. Biological and anatomical differences between the males and females is discussed along with the advantages of men in the field of violence.
The article examines the role of criminal investigators in investigating and fixing responsibility for violent crimes. The author has presented brief versions of four crime stories illustrating the investigation procedures in violent crimes. Factors that are required to be kept in consideration while investigating violent crimes are also mentioned. The author defines the criminal investigators as urban ethnographers who work in such a world where they have to find their way through a series of lies, multiple identities and cooked stories.
The article presents information on the religious violence between Hindus and Muslims in India. Context of Hindu-Muslim violence pictures large variations within, and across social science disciplines. The clashes between Hindus and Muslims happened mostly in Hyderabad and it started long ago when the city was under the rule of the Nizam of Hyderabad and his army who were very cruel to Hindus. The difference among the religious and communal group identities is also a notable difference between the two religions. In Kashmir where Hindus are in a minority, they were dishonored and tortured by Muslims. The author remarks that unity among the two religion is impossible as they act in opposite manners.